I have, at this point, one A event, my favorite event in the whole world, and my goal is to be better at it next year. A few weeks ago, I set up a plan using Plan Builder and enabled Adaptive Training. So far, I love it.
Here is my question: Given how far out my event is, 1 year, Plan Builder basically just doubled its normal plan. (It scheduled Base 1, Base 2, Build, Specialty, Base 1, Base 2, Build, Specialty.) Is there a better progression? Should I re-order them? I was thinking instead maybe Base 1, Base 2, Base 1, Base 2, Build, Build, Specialty, Specialty? Or maybe even more Base and then just one Build and one Specialty at the end?
Thoughts? If someone wants to single-mindedly pursue one event for a year, what’s the best progression?
Makes sense to me- specialty typically has a slight decrease in TSS and a taper built in, which can allow you to shed some fatigue from the previous base/build cycle and start the next one from a stronger position. 52 weeks is a long stretch, and IMO you’re better off being conservative in the beginning than heading into your A event with a bunch of long-term fatigue. (or potentially having to take a longer break if you bury yourself!)
More base could also be a good option depending on your goals and training history, but I’d avoid successive build phases- by nature they’re difficult to sustain both physically and mentally, and the kind of energy systems you’re working on in many build plans are typically ‘maxed out’ in gains after about 4-8 weeks- so not super favorable in terms of risk vs. reward.
That all makes sense. I definitely won’t stack Builds together.
And, using Specialty in the middle as a time for decreased load makes sense too. I may just leave things as they are! Or, I might replace the first Build with some more Base.
You have to remember TR only really offers 6 or 8 week base/build/specialty programmes essentially, so PB is always just going to repeat them over and over if you have a goal event a long way out. If you want to use TR plans then you have little other choice.
Thats not necessarily the best way to approach it if you have a year though and depending on what your strengths, weaknesses and event demands may be. Doing something different would mean self-coaching or hiring a coach to work with you to build a bespoke plan though.
If I would have a whole year to my A event, I would switch to polarized training. You can build a strong base with it, and you can expand the base phase “endless”. I would do 8 weeks of build, than 8 weeks specialty with “warmup races”.
Another vote for swapping out to polarised training, especially during summer as you can just head out for long steady state rides to get your Z1 (in the three zone model) done.
Easy enough to swap out using calendar:
find the start of the phase, click on it’s name, in the dialog click on the plan name at the top and you’ll get a drop down with the available alternatives. Choose “Polarized (Experimental)” and you’re done!
Note that you can’t do this for Speciality plans.
You may have only one AA event but do you do any other events during the year? Maybe make one of those that is 3-5 months before your target an A also to give yourself some practice and just someThing else to break it up.
Otherwise, the first progression sounds good to me. As someone else said, I wouldn’t stack two builds together. You’d probably be so fatigued for the second that you wouldn’t get much out of it and you’d dig a pretty big hole for yourself.
As an ironman triathlete this is all I ever do
But to get in the best shape, you must race. You haven’t mentioned what your event is, or what kind of event it is, but I would schedule B events and add those into Plan Builder. If nothing else, they should give you a measure of progress and let you know where you are going right or wrong before your A event. And you don’t want to turn up after a year and be totally disappointed.
The general recommendation when you have more time than the standard 28 weeks of Base> Build > Speciality is to add more base. Base> Build> Base> Build really helps consolidate power around your new aerobic base.
If SSB is already in plan builder, then it may be worthwhile adding in a different form of base, such as Traditional Base, or (experimental) Polarized Base. Of course, adding in another base phase just gets you to 40 weeks, which leaves you still with time to spare.
After the initital base period, it may be worth using the extra time to spend on a short 4 week block focussing on a limiter./weakness This is not something that plan builder will give you (because limiters are so individual), so you are going to have to design this block yourself. But if you identify what you think your limiter might be, I’m sure plenty of people will have some useful suggestions.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions! Obviously, I have to keep things sort of fluid. A lot can change in a year! But, on the other hand, I’m the sort of person who likes having a plan. I suppose that’s why I use a product like this.
So, tentatively, for now, I’m doing base, lot’s of base. SSBLV1, SSBLV2, SSBLV1, SSBLV2. Then, I let plan builder build the rest, except since that will be starting in April, I switched the two bases to the Experimental Polarized plan. A couple of you recommended that, and it makes sense to do when it is getting warmer and I can do plenty of endurance outside. Then, it finishes, as per usual, with Build and Specialty leading into my A event.
This may all change some if I do find another event to do in the Spring, or more. It’s difficult with my job; I’m a paramedic and I work on weekends, that’s just my job. So, I basically have to find something many months in advance and take vacation time if I’m going to go to anything, as races always find themselves on the weekend for some reason. That’s something I’d like to do, and if I do find something, I’ll change things up.